Optimism prevails at Baird Global Healthcare Conference
NEW YORK, U.S.: On Sept. 9 and 10, Baird Equity Research held its annual Global Healthcare Conference. Traditionally hosted in New York, the invite-only congress was conducted virtually this year owing to the ongoing pandemic. Attendees were able to engage with presentations by representatives of more than 90 of the world’s leading health care and dental companies, who were on hand to showcase their respective plans for navigating a path to profit in a post-COVID-19 landscape.
Chief among the dental companies present was Envista, the parent company of Nobel Biocare, Ormco and KaVo Kerr. Envista President and CEO Amir Aghdaei discussed the dramatic shift in the company’s outlook and priorities since a strong initial public offering (IPO) a little less than a year ago.
“Twelve months ago, we talked about accelerating growth, expanding our margin and building a better product portfolio,” he stated. “Despite all the challenges in the past months, we have been able to take a giant step forward by building a better portfolio, and I feel very confident about what lies ahead.”
Aghdaei confirmed that the company’s sales, which reached a nadir of sorts in March, are currently trending upward. “To be honest, it has taken us a little bit by surprise how quickly this ramp-up [of activity] has happened,” he added. “We’re cautiously optimistic and are just hopeful of maintaining this momentum.”
“Despite all the challenges in the past months, we have been able to take a giant step forward by building a better portfolio” – Amir Aghdaei, Envista President and CEO
With the launches of new products, including the N1 implant system from Nobel Biocare and Ormco’s Spark clear aligner system, Envista is well positioned to potentially return to pre-COVID-19 levels of growth next year, according to Aghdaei. “We expect to see the low to mid-single-digit growth that we had promised during the IPO,” he predicted.
Align invests strongly in remote consultation technologies
In a discussion hosted by Dr. Jeffrey D. Johnson, senior research analyst at Baird, Align Technology’s chief financial officer, John Morici, outlined how the company had recently invested in a number of teledentistry solutions to make remote checkups a reality. While the clear aligner market leader shipped 41% fewer cases of Invisalign during the second quarter of 2019, the recent launch of Invisalign Virtual Appointment and Invisalign Virtual Care—digital solutions that allow dental professionals to conduct video consultations with existing Invisalign patients—shows that Align is committed to improving treatment efficiency.
“Part of the reason why we continue to make investments, even during the crisis, is to accelerate the availability of some tools for doctors so that they can make sure that their patients’ teeth are progressing and moving in the right way,” Morici said. The ability to check on this progress remotely rather than in the dental practice itself “almost becomes a necessity in a post-COVID world,” he emphasized. “It’s really just an acceleration of the digitization that we had already been heading toward,” he added.
Dentsply Sirona positioned to rebound
Jorge Gomez, chief financial officer of Dentsply Sirona, took the opportunity at the conference to discuss the company’s future prospects. Though Dentsply Sirona has experienced a tumultuous past few months owing, in part, to a large reduction in sales and confirmation of its nonparticipation in the 2021 International Dental Show, Gomez pointed to the company’s market share and brand equity in reassuring investors that it is “well positioned to take advantage of market trends.”
“While COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the dental industry overall, we enter this downturn with a very strong market position and capital structure, already engaged in a number of cost-saving and efficiency initiatives that have proved to be very beneficial for us during these difficult months,” he stated.
Gomez outlined Dentsply Sirona’s perception of the dental product industry as one that is attractive yet fragmented and underpenetrated, leaving plenty of room for the company to grow as dental activity increases.
“We’re trying to plan for a number of scenarios,” he explained. “We’re optimistic and ready to take advantage of demand if it continues to improve, but we’re also prepared for other scenarios that may not be as positive.”